Aish Kodesh June 17, 2010, Parsha Chukas, discussion of Korach
In this parsha Moshe learns he will not go into the Promised Land; Moshe wrote the book of Job, which is about dealing with major disappointments. This is the only book about a non-Jew. All conversations with HaShem are projective. We have conversations with G*d and with ourselves simultaneously because G*d is a mirror, Bitsalal tous. We will study Job on Tisha BâAv in a couple of weeks.
People died only on Tisha BâAv in the desert wanderings. When no one died, they knew that that generation had died off. What happened in the 38 years was important, but Torah teaches us the processes that we need to know in other places. The Torah is a zoom lens.
THE TRIANGLE OF THE NAZAR: Right corner (initiating): no wine; wine symbolizes all addictive substances, the death of free choice. Left corner (receptive): do not come in contact with death; addiction is death. Bottom corner (synthesis): no haircut.
Wine had a special significance since it could be stored while water could not. Water became tainted and foul and needed to be drawn from a fresh spring. The Talmud says the Nazir was an addict. Everyone who voluntarily watched the test of the sotah had to become a nazir because to want to watch someone out of control you had to be out of control yourself.
The power of hair: Korach was bald. The inside core of a hair is alive but the outside is dead. We are living in a world of shells. Free choice is based on true reality. Idol worship has to do with how unreal our world becomes.
Rachel, the wife of Rabbi Akiva, said to him: You are illiterate but you have great potential. I will marry you if you go to school and learn with the children. The name of her father was The Satisfied Dog. Contrast Rachel with the wife of Korach, who changed his perception of Moses.
This is the most pro-feminine Torah in the Orthodox world with great depth and integrity.
1. Korach focused on weakness and attacked. This is predator behavior. This is placing a stumbling block in front of the blind, and it is the opposite of someone really celebrating the success of another.
2. People are a spiritual antenna, inspired actions bring spiritual energy into the world. Aish and myam, fire and water. Shamayim = the shin is aish and mayim is water. Lightening in a rainstorm (trf: connected to the fiery hail during the plagues).
Hillel and Shamai had healthy conflict. They grew from seeing the perspective of the other. To do this one has to let go of ego and fears.
Korach had a hidden agenda. He said he was a Populist but he wanted to be in charge.
There were 71 rabbis in the Sanhedrin. The junior rabbis voted first in order to avoid mob psychology. Studying Talmud is an effective preventative to Alzheimers.
Miriam dies in this parsha and Moses finds out he is unable to teach without her.
Moses falls on his face and considers whether Korach is right and he has become blinded. A secure person can do this. He was able to go to Baal Peor instead of the Promised Land.
You can judge a the unreality of people by the they treat the Jews. We are seen as both full of power and cockroaches. These two perceptions go hand in hand.
How do we hook into life when so much of what we see is dead? Things come in attractive packages.
Most of the world is ruled by death, either by people worshipping it or running away from it.
Judaism is the only religion with tuma and tahar.
Did Miriam marry Nachshun or Caleb?
The three siblings, Moshe, Aaron and Miriam, were an effective team. It is easy for one person to feel left out in a triad. Triangulation can occur.
[TRF: Speculation about which person initiated, which was receptive, and which was the synthesis. Moshe was the leader, so he should have been the active force, but he was paradoxically not very aggressive, the humblest man who ever lived. Aaron should have been synthesis, since he was the great peacemaker, the person who reconciled warring opposites. He took the more aggressive role as the mouthpiece of Moses. Miriam should have been the receptive force since she was female, but she was very active and passionate. Viewed from the perspective of the sepherot, Moshe is Netzach, initiating force. Aaron is Hod, receptive force. Miriam is Yesod, foundational intimacy, synthesis. Dan suggests we can make several triangles out of these people.]
Favorite Miriam stories:
1. She stayed outside the camp, accepted the punishment gracefully.
2. Told her father off when he separated from her mother, took charge of the situation both then and when the baby was placed in the river.
3. Took up Tziporahâs complaint (trf: this was a rerun of the separation of her parents). She was relational and brought the different tribes together via the little boats.
4. In her merit the water came to the camp.
5. At the Song of the Sea: Torah likes brevity. Distills that the horses were riding the people, meaning the people were driven by their lust for war.
Sacred Fire page 223
We have to ask how is this applicable to me? Not what it means to me.
Without Miriam Moses could not have been a great teacher. She went outside the camp, he went to Peor, the place of schmutz. He is modeling how we learn from your sister. All he ever wanted was to be Moshe Rabenu and by giving up the Promised Land, he got the biggest gift.
Miriam died with a kiss is provocative and the Aish Kodesh is making fun of the reaction which frum Jews have, not just kissing but Peh-al-peh, mouth-to-mouth. Some people read this and think about the french kisses they want and others see the French kiss out on the street and think of this line in the Torah.
Page 323: He is attacking a male-oriented yeshiva teaching. When a man does a mitzvah he gets no credit. Men need credit. In yeshivas they teach the greater is the one who is commanded. But the Aish Kodesh says that women get credit because they are NOT commanded.
The men die with the kiss of G*d, so G*d gets the credit. The power of Miriam is coming from underneath. Miriam drew upon the wellsprings inside herself. Find spirituality inside, not outside.
Miriam draws spirituality up from the wellsprings.
Moshe hits the rock.
Blessing the children is like blessing the parent.
How are these statements from Sacred Fire connected? TRF: The images of water being drawn up and a rock being hit are very different from each other.
Diminishing oneself: sinning to reach the level the people are at, putting your children ahead of yourself â lack of competition. Her energy of bonding results in the other two.
The yearning of people for immortality is expressed through the desire to have children and grandchildren.
Page 324. It is controversial to use the language of scienceâDarwin and Freudâin this kind of context. We believe in the perpetuity of the Jewish people even if we do not have it as individuals. G*d did not create death. People chose death.
HISHTALSHELUT: spiritual energy becoming material. The hiddenness of G*d creates things that look totally material. Through the process of birth one becomes two, heaven becomes fire and water. This is so we can have a choice. The unity can become a poison when it obscures the choice. Choice is a front-line warfare. The chief dilemma is where the choice occurs. If you have even one breath, then G*d is waiting for you. The sons of Korach did teshuva while falling into the pit. [TRF: Alice in Wonderland: she also fell.]
The Tablets of the Law by Thomas Mann. The longing for relationship powers the universe. It is AS IF G*d needed something to receive His goodness.
Creation is not the first of the worlds. Atzilute is pre-Creation, the concept of Creation. Briyah is Creation. TRF: If the thought, speech and manifestation of G*d are actually one and occur simultaneously, how can there be a world of pre-Creation?
At the beginning of this chapter we started with a down-to-earth event and have now reached the highest heavens. We will continue with this next week. We are giving birth to G*d.
We get credit for not doing something and we get credit for observing Purim and Tisha BâAv since we are not commanded to observe these holy days. Our insecurities did not allow us Jews to sit on the floor on the night of Tisha BâAv, and it was totally eliminated from Jewish observance during the second half of the last century. Good translations of Lamentations include Lubovitch, Stone, Arieh Kaplan.
Rabbi Henoch Dov teaches in Denver, Colorado. You can contact him through his web page, www.RabbiHenochDov.com or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.